Jeremy Corbyn addresses the Scottish TUC in Aviemore
Jeremy Corbyn speech to
the Scottish TUC
Comrades and friends,
it’s great to be in Scotland and it’s wonderful to be here at the STUC.
The STUC has a wonderful
tradition of fighting for working people in Scotland and influencing public
policy debates on behalf of working people.
The STUC and its trade
union and trades council affiliates have been at the forefront of progress in
It’s the collectivism of
the trade union movement through working people fighting alongside each other
that has always been and always will be the driver of great progressive change
in Scotland in the rest of the UK and across the world.
And no more so is that
the case than the inspiring young activists involved with the Better Than Zero
campaign. Their vibrant and engaging action is a shining example of
modern trade unionism, carrying on the historic fight in a system still rigged
against working people.
But that fight is one we
have all collectively committed to and continue to do so, because friends, it
works. And we won’t let anyone tell us otherwise.
It is trade unions that
have driven up wages and living standards, health and safety in the workplace,
and challenged prejudice and discrimination
And it is Unions that
have worked with ourselves in the Labour Party to transform our society,
to offer the opportunities to our people that so many of our forefathers and
especially our foremothers unfortunately did not enjoy themselves.
They are our heroes. It
was our predecessors who suffered exploitation in the workplace and wider
society, and it was they who were not prepared to stand idly by, who instead
chose to fight back and win many of the gains that we enjoy today.
Our NHS, our social
security safety net, our education system and so much more were won on the
shoulders of these giants in the Labour and trade union movement and none of us
should ever forget that.
Friends, that’s why I
could not be at a better or more appropriate place to start our General
Election Campaign in Scotland.
We are standing for the
many not the few, and it is through our collective power in a trade union that
we ensure the many , standing together, have the power to stand up to the
rich and powerful few.
The Labour Party will
always cherish, sustain and protect our relationship with the Trade Union
movement and the working people you represent. You are our DNA, you are our
family, and we will never, ever apologise for the closeness of our relationship
Friends just like Keir
Hardie, I am proud to be a trade unionist and I carry my card everywhere I go.
That is why one of the
very first things we will do when forming our Labour Government will be to
repeal the vicious Tory Trade Union Act. Giving working people the rights to
collectively organise and make their lives better, safer and more content.
While the timing of the
election was unexpected, the choice is clear and the stakes are high.
But let no-one be in any
doubt, we are in this election to win it and we will fight for every seat in
every corner of these isles.
I said the other day
that the dividing lines in this election could not be clearer from the outset.
It is the Conservatives, the party of privilege and the richest, versus the
Labour Party, the party that is standing up for working people to improve the
lives of all. That is the real choice.
Only Labour or the
Tories can form a Government , and I implore Scots to fight for the party of
progress, and not the vicious Tory Party, who alongside their previous
coalition partners, the Lib Dems, unleashed an unprecedented attack on working
people in this country.
The choice facing the
country at this election is clear, it’s the people versus the powerful.
Labour will challenge
the rigged system that is holding our country back.
In this election Labour
will offer hope to the nurse, the teacher, the small trader, the carer,
the builder, the office worker, the bus driver, the factory worker, the farm
labourer and the factory worker.
We will provide the
change and the transformative policy programme that puts power and
opportunity in people’s hands.
We will fight this
election offering a positive vision for our country. We will present to the
British people an economic and political alternative, and a promise that we
will make our country work for the many not the few.
We will make jobs better
and more secure with a real living wage, and stronger rights at work.
We will end the public
sector pay cap that disrespects our committed public servants every day.
We will end the need for
We will upgrade our
economy to create wealth for all our people in the 21st Century, through
investment in our infrastructure, helping our small businesses, delivering high
skill jobs and ending poverty pay.
We will never put tax
giveaways to the corporations and the wealthiest above our vital public services
like our social care system and NHS, and those engines of opportunity our
schools and colleges. We will give them the funding they need.
The Scottish people are
facing a crucial choice in this election. The Tories are trying to use Brexit
to turn Britain into a low-wage tax haven, run in the interests of the
Labour will negotiate a
Brexit that will build on the gains won for workers, consumers and the
environment in the EU. We will put jobs, living standards and human rights
Friends, this is a
General Election, it is not a referendum, and only Labour can form a
Government and offer an alternative that will transform the lives of
The truth is that the
Tories and SNP are obsessed with their power struggles against Brussels and
Westminster, when the energy should be used to change and transform our economy
to ensure no-one and no community is left behind.
The Tories are Tories,
they will always seek to undermine, dilute or simply eliminate all the gains
that we won. That’s who they are and that’s what they do.
The Tories act for the
powerful and the powerful back them. That’s what we are up against, that’s what
our predecessors were up against, it never stopped them and it won’t stop us.
Much of the media and
establishment are saying that this election is a foregone conclusion.
They think there are
rules in politics which if you don’t follow you don’t win.
So you start doffing
your cap to powerful people accepting their parameters so nothing can really
change. Comrades, it is when you start doing that, that you really can’t win.
Our movement knows it.
It is only by us standing together as the people for the many not the powerful
few that we really win.
Friends only Labour has
the policies that will challenge these powerful interests and transform the
lives of working people.
And friends let us
remember that the only real Progressive Alliance is the Labour and Trade Union
movement working together, it always has been and always will be.
That’s why Labour is
campaigning to win every seat across the whole country.
The deal we’ll do is
with the electorate, is to be a government for the many not the few.
The truth is that the
politics and policies of Labour are needed now more than ever as our country
becomes more unfair, more unjust and more unequal.
In Scotland 260 thousand
children, 40,000 more than last year are living in poverty. Health inequalities
stubbornly persist, educational attainment differences are worsening, and the
numbers of people working but still considered to be living in poverty are at
their worse point since devolution.
That’s surely where the
focus of all politicians should be.
We will redistribute the
wealth in our society to ensure that people are paid at least a real living
wage of £10 an hour, transforming the lives of the near half a million Scots
who currently earn less than the living wage, wiping out at a stroke the concept
of ‘working poor’.
We will protect
pensioner incomes, by legislating to keep the Triple-Lock on state pensions,
protecting the pensions of over 1 million Scottish pensioners,
guaranteeing them a basic income necessary to live a dignified life in
Only Labour will protect
We will make sure public
spending will be used to force a change for good in working and environmental
conditions, equal opportunities and fair pay.
We will put conditions
on the massive public spending budget with private business to ensure no
company wins a public contract if they avoid or evade taxes don’t pay their
local suppliers on time or don’t recognise trade unions.
This will benefit
Scottish workers and Scottish small businesses currently contracted by the UK
Government to the tune of billions of pounds.
We will create a
Scottish National Bank under Scottish control and backed by the National
Investment Bank with £20bn of lending power to deliver the funds to local
projects and Scotland’s small businesses creating work and stimulating the
We will aggressively
take on the tax avoiders and evaders starting with having corporations publish
their tax returns.
We will ban zero hours
contracts giving new protections to the 60,000 Scottish workers currently with
no guaranteed hours. How can people plan or just pay the rent when they have no
security of income?
Is it right they wake
every morning and then wait for a text?
Unlike others, we will
set up inquiries into blacklisting and Orgreave … and we would urge the
Scottish Government to set up an inquiry into the actions of the Scottish
police during the Miners’ strike.
We will give all workers
equal rights from day one to stop some workers being exploited and others
We will introduce a
right to own giving workers first refusal when their company faces a change of
ownership or closure.
We’ll properly fund the
Health & Safety Executive shamefully cut back under this Government
compromising those great gains that our movement has historically fought so
And we will work with
trade unions and industry to reintroduce sectoral collective bargaining across
We will also introduce 4
new public holidays giving people the time to lead better and more fulfilling
lives, helping productivity at the same time. And we will ask for the support
of the governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland so that the same
four holidays can be enjoyed across the United Kingdom.
Friends, our aim is a
country where everyone who can has the dignity of work and where
everyone has a guarantee of dignity at work
Friends, these are the
type of transformative policies that can change people’s lives for the better.
Just like always has
been it is only Labour that will deliver for working people, small businesses
and our most vulnerable people none of the rest would even think of these type
of policies let alone achieve them.
Friends, it is
only Labour that will focus on the kind of country we need to have
In the coming
weeks Labour will lay out more of our policies that will unlock
opportunities for every single person in this country.
We will focus on giving
people real control over their own lives and make sure that everybody reaps a
just reward for the work that they do.
We will no longer allow
those at the top to leach off of those who bust their guts on zero hours
contracts or those forced to make sacrifices to pay their mortgage or their
Instead of the country’s
wealth being hidden in tax havens we will put it in the hands of the
people of Britain because they are the ones who earned it.
election Labour will lead the movement to make that change.
We will build a new
economy worthy of the 21st century and we will build a country for the many not